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Reach For The Ska With Jamaican Rhythms And Lovesick Themes, Goldfinger Has Midas Touch With Young Fans

FRIDAY, JAN. 16, 1998

To date the lead singer of the band Goldfinger is to ensure yourself a place among the many women for whom rock songs have been written.

John Feldmann freely admits that women - and his relationships with them - are the muse for a good chunk of his songwriting.

“Some people like to get wasted. Some people like to punch holes in walls. And some people like to do all of the above,” Feldmann explains. “I like to write songs during a breakup or during the whole ‘do I know if she likes me’ thing or the ‘I don’t get to see her this week.’ I think anyone can relate to relationship problems.”

On the band’s latest album, “Hang Ups,” Feldmann sings about trying to tell a girl how much he likes her (“I Need to Know”) and about trying to call his girlfriend while on the road (“20 Cent Goodbye.”)

” ‘If Only’ was about the insecurities I had about getting into this relationship I’m in now,” Feldmann says. “If I had more hair, if I was buffer, if I was richer, would you like me more, kind of thing.”

Fortunately, it would seem, Feldmann’s girlfriend has been understanding. “She likes it when I write songs about her,” he insists.

And it’s a good thing, because with Goldfinger’s second album having sold more than 88,000 copies, a good many more people are getting at peek at Feldmann’s love life.

The Inland Northwest will get to take a listen on Wednesday when Goldfinger performs at The Met with the Kottonmouth Kings, Kara’s Flowers and The Stoics.

The four members of Goldfinger hail from Southern California, where their ska-laced poppy punk sound has taken hold in recent years with rabid fervor.

Sublime, No Doubt and Goldfinger have been the big names on this Jamaican-flavored-punk-music wagon - although it is a sound pioneered by the Mighty Mighty Bosstones (who come from Boston, not the Golden State).

Like the Bosstones, Goldfinger mixes the dance-chugging beat of ska with the punch of punk. But they also inject plenty of other elements.

“If Only” starts with slow-moving pop, speeds up with buzzy guitars, hits a loping ska beat and then dips deep into a metalesque Pantera dirge - only to return to its soft beginnings.

“It takes you on a big trip in three minutes,” Feldmann says.

A look at the members’ musical backgrounds is a sure indication of where their diverse meddlings come from. Rounded out by guitarist Charlie Paulson, bassist Simon Williams and drummer Darrin Pfeiffer, the band members have spent time in groups that ranged from Pixies, Chili Peppers, and Metallica rip-offs, as well as “a really bad version of Spinal Tap that wasn’t even trying to be funny.”

“The first show I saw was the English Beat so I’ve always had an affinity for ska music, but I always need to rock too,” Feldmann says. “What we do now combines pretty much everything I liked.”

Although the band members range in age from 26 to 30, Goldfinger is probably best enjoyed if you’re, say, between the ages of 14 and 19. That is to say, in addition to the fumbling feelings of love, their music and lyrics are well grounded in the issues of adolescence.

The “Hang Ups” album covers topics from the angst of adult control (“Authority”), to skateboarding (“Chris Cayton”) and snowboarding (“S.M.P.” which stands for Skiers Must Perish.) These aren’t deep songs. And their music doesn’t have that carefully honed introspective feel. But even older music fans - or at least ones with some youthful zeal left in their bones - can take joy in Goldfinger’s gleefully exuberant style, one that forces the toes to tap however unwilling the listener.

The Kottonmouth Kings - also from Southern California - join Goldfinger Wednesday with their own crossbreed of ska, hip hop and pop. Recently signed to Capitol Records, the band’s single “Suburban Life” appears on the soundtrack to the movie “Scream 2.”

Kara’s Flowers a young group of lads from (big surprise) Southern California break out their own version of ‘70s and ‘80s pop, replete with Weezer influences.

Lock up your daughters. Spokane’s own feisty garage popmeisters The Stoics open the show.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: 2 photos

MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: TICKET INFORMATION Goldfinger, Kottonmouth Kings, Kara’s Flowers and The Stoics perform at The Met Wednesday. Tickets are $10, available at G&B; outlets.

This sidebar appeared with the story: TICKET INFORMATION Goldfinger, Kottonmouth Kings, Kara’s Flowers and The Stoics perform at The Met Wednesday. Tickets are $10, available at G&B; outlets.


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